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Rapala rejoices with new boss and improved results

Rapala VMC Corporation has unveiled Nicolas Warchalowski as its president and Chief Executive Officer effective from March 1st while also revealing net sales were up by five per cent in 2019 with operating profit up by seven per cent.

Nicolas’ appointment follows the resignation of Jussi Ristimäki at the end of last September and a subsequent major global recruitment process, which has seen the former boss of Swedish children’s brand BabyBjörn swap baby carriers for lures.

Unveiling the new boss of the Finnish-based company at the same time as reporting its 2019 figures, board chairman Louis d’Alançon – who had been in charge in the interim – said: “We are very excited to appoint Nicolas Warchalowski as our new CEO after an extensive and thorough international recruitment process. He possesses the strong leadership skills and solid capabilities required to develop Rapala to its next stage.”

Nicolas added: “I feel greatly honoured and thrilled to join the legendary company Rapala VMC, whose products I fished with growing up. To get the opportunity to carry on the Rapala legacy and to join such a committed and ambitious team feels really exciting.”

Nicolas’ extensive career in international consumer business and a solid track record in developing businesses includes being CEO of BabyBjörn from 2018 to 2019, heading up Peak Performance (2014 to 2018) as well as outdoor supplier Haglöfs (2011-2014).

In his earlier career he worked in the USA and Austria for Red Bull as well as Procter & Gamble in Sweden. He holds a Master of Science degree in Business and Economics from Jönköping International Business School.

Meanwhile, Louis revealed that the giant Tackle giant Rapala VMC Corporation had posted a five per cent increase in sales for 2019 of €275.4m (up from €262.4m 2018) and a comparable operating profit up seven per cent from €16.7m to €17.8m. For the second half of the year, net sales came in at €134.2m.

Louis told investors: “We achieved good results in 2019 and succeeded in increasing our profitability from 2018 as targeted.”

Trading during the year in most of the group’s markets was mainly as expected, with North America continuing a positive trend.

“As anticipated, after the first half of the year, the second was particularly strong in the region. In Europe the changes in the Shimano and other third-party distribution agreements caused slight uncertainties but the Nordics and rest of Europe grew from the previous year. The growth in Europe was supported by the ramp-up of the group’s own distribution operations in some of the key central European markets,” he added.

Author: Simon Calvert

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